In his novel Night, Elie Wiesel tells about Eliahou, the rabbi of a small Polish community, and his son Zalman. Ellie sees a man named Rabbi Eliahu who asks other people if they have seen his son. Rabbi and Eliahu have survived together for three years but his son gets lost in the commotion. Now that the end was near fate seemed to separate them. Ellie realizes that he saw his son fall to the back of the column. Ellie did not stop for him and continued to run as the distance between them grew bigger. After this conversation, Ellie has an awful thought that eventually becomes his reality. Ellie thinks, “He had felt his father growing weaker and, believing that the end was near, had thought by this separation to free himself of a burden that could diminish his own chance for survival”.
For his Rabbi Eliahu, the only thing that mattered was surviving the liquidation alongside his son. Zalman was his father’s only reason for being, he had continued to live through the anguish all for his son. 'A terrible thought crossed my mind: What if he had wanted to be rid of his father? He had felt his father growing weaker and, believing that the end was near, had thought by this separation to free himself of a burden that could diminish his own chance for survival.' It becomes evident that his son Zalman had not passed away, he had simply left his father to fend for himself because he could no longer value anything other than his life, not even his creator. The opposing ideas of family morals from father to son throughout the dehumanizing efforts of the German’s becomes a pattern.
Rabbi Eliahou’s son chooses to run away from his father so that he can improve his own chances of surviving, yet Wiesel implies that the life that awaits Eliahou’s son is not worth living. (Elie remarks that he has “done well to forget” the man, and he feels glad that Rabbi Eliahou does not know that his own cruel son may have survived.) A man on the train assaults and kills his dad for a few crumbs of bread, yet moments after the boy dies himself. Over and over, frantic men forsake their connections to each other and God, just to find that they are no longer able to survive.
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